April 29, 2012

Poets You Should Know -- RAY GONZALEZ

The work of award-winning poet and editor Ray Gonzalez is inextricably linked to his Mexican ancestry and his American southwestern upbringing. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Gonzalez has employed Chicano imagery in his poetry, oftentimes alluding to America's indigenous past, and particularly to the southwestern desert cultures. Gonzalez has published several collections of his poetry and has served as editor of several anthologies of writings, most of which emphasize the contributions of Chicano authors to the literary scene. These anthologies, including 1998's Touching the Fire: Fifteen Poets of Today's Latino Renaissance, provide a medium for many up-and-coming Latino writers to get their work to the public. Another of his anthologies, Without Discovery: A Native Response to Columbus, includes essays by a host of indigenous writers who refute the notion that Christopher Columbus was the discoverer of the New World.


I am busy living in the new millennium. It fits well with the depression I left back in the twentieth century. I am happier now because I am older and fewer birds fly after me. If I could grow a beard, I would. If I could take my time in deciding what I think of my country, it would be easier to live here without thinking I have to have an opinion, cast a vote, or drink distilled water. I am not sure where I am going with this, but it is a fine season for confessing how we made it past the zero hour. Even the tiny spider crossing the white rug in the living room is going to make it into the first decade of the new awareness. I don’t step on it or call my cat’s attention to it. The little spider passes the leg of the sofa and disappears. I read in the newspaper about the 20,000 fish that were found dead in the Guadalupe River near San Antonio. It turns out it was fire ant mating season. After male fire ants mate with the females in mid-air, they die. When wildlife people cut open the dead fish to see what killed them, they found thousands of fire ants in their bellies. The toxic poison of the male fire ants killed the fish after they gorged on the falling insects. I am busy thinking about this because I used to live in the area and was attacked by fire ants several times. This thought fits with what I was going to say. I have two large windows in my office and a large desk. When I open any book in my office, I always use both hands.

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